U of M Trip to Blaine’s Tahoe House

I was lucky to spend this past weekend in Tahoe with a different set of brothers. Jen and Matt bought and renovated a home in Tahoma during the pandemic. It is on the shore of Lake Tahoe and every inch of it is beautiful. Matt invited the entire NorCal U of M crew up to break it in and attendance was near capacity.

The trip was almost waved off due to the nearby fires. Blaine and Yo arrived early to scout it out and we were assured it was just “hazy.” Grady and I drove up together and as we got closer, the visibility was low and the air became acrid. We were pretty certain they were going to be bugging out just as we arrived.

We mostly sheltered indoors except for a short walk up to a great pizza place for dinner. Grady and I haven’t roomed together since our legendary Vegas trips. Thankfully when we woke up Saturday morning, it was quite clear and it looked like it was going to be a great weekend.

The first order of business was the Michigan football game, which coincided with breakfast prepared by Matt. The first indication that we were growing up was that fruit was served. After some more football, we took the boat over to Chamber’s Landing for lunch. The lake was running too low to bring the boat in, so Matt ferried us 2 at a time in his under-inflated dinghy, which was rated to carry 0.75 Benjams (now an official unit of measure). It was precarious, but we all made it aboard his more seaworthy vessel.

We arrived at Chambers Landing only to find they weren’t open for lunch. Based on our dress, it was easy to guess we were Michigan fans and made friends with people who had Michigan roots wherever we went. After a couple rounds of frozen drinks, we continued on to Sunnyside for a proper lunch and some grocery shopping.

Getting off the boat was even dodgier, so much so that Grady and Matt decided to swim vs. risk falling in. The afternoon was spent consuming more football and various chips (Greg even brought out some vegetables). For dinner, Matt prepared an amazing meal of grilled tri-tip and salad.

Dinner conversation covered many topics, books and shows. On the drive home, Grady compiled a list of over 20 books referenced during dinner. 17 were from him with an average of 1 each from the rest of us, my contribution being a young adult novel I read about 10 years ago. By the end of the evening, we reverted to our younger selves, playing bad pool while watching Caddy Shack. Ben said night night early.

Having been away on sequential guys trips (thanks, Grace!), I wanted to make it home in time for Olivia’s soccer game. Grady and I got on the road early, just as Matt and Jason were heading out for a ride (strong move).

Super big thanks to Matt for hosting us all at his new home. This was a rare full gathering of this group of very old friends (almost 33 years to the week for me and Dukes). It was also a reminder that we need to do this more often. We’re already looking forward to our next football BBQ and annual holiday party.


52 Photos

Spring Skiing in Tahoe

The weekend of March 30th, we went up to Tahoe to get some more skiing in before the end of the season. Olivia has soccer practice on Friday nights until 8pm, so we left right after she was done. Olivia has not been a fan of fast food for most of her life, but for some reason was craving McDonalds. We made a drive-thru stop on the way and she sampled the McNuggets. They are a drug. I had my first McDonalds French fries in a couple years. Also drugs. Lucas didn’t sample the McNuggets, but he is not curious to try them. Fries are the gateway drug to other McDonalds foods.

We didn’t arrive to the hotel until midnight. We’re not a first-chair kind of family, so after a proper breakfast, we hit the slopes. We had just missed some fresh snow a few days before, but were now enjoying the bluebird conditions. I left my sunglasses at the Moons’ house on our last trip up, so I ended up burning my eyeballs before buying a new pair.

The Moons were also up at their house with friends so we met up with them for dinner on Saturday night. On Sunday, we skied for a few hours again after breakfast before changing, packing up, and heading home so as to not get home too late. The traffic wasn’t as bad as our last trip, but I’m still feeling that the drive is not the best use of time. Utah is looking better and better to us.

8 Photos

Annual Tahoe Trip with the Moons

This past weekend we made our first trip to Tahoe for the season thanks to a late winter snow storm. We coordinated with the Moons and looked into renting a house or condo, but with Thando joining the family, we needed something dog friendly. Luckily the hotel was happy to have him.

We stopped at Il Fornaio in Roseville on Friday night and didn’t get into the hotel until about 10:30pm. Saturday morning we got a relatively early start (given we were on the mountain already). It snowed all day and most of the night, dumping about 9 inches on top of a recent storm that brought over five feet of much needed snow.

Their friends Elisa and Don were also at the resort, so we had dinner together on Saturday night. Each of us got a turn with the baby, Olivia being the most successful. On Sunday, we got out early again and skied hard for a few hours on the most and best snow of the season. The powder in the glades was the best. Lucas and Olivia made so much progress this season, which was proven on the same mogul run we did a couple seasons ago. Grace is also doing great on her form.

We thought this might be our last trip of the season, but now skiing is on the table for spring break. Who knows what will happen with the snow and weather between now and then. In any case, it was a great trip with the Moons  with some of the most memorable runs of the year.

44 Photos

Spring Skiing in Tahoe with Kimuras and Lees

We’ve been trying to get to Tahoe with the Kimuras and Lees for a few years now. This year, we finally made it happen. We rented a great house in Northstar last weekend, which was perfect for all the families. The Lees were only planning to ski one day, and unfortunately their Olivia stubbed her toe in the morning and fractured it! Bummer.

We had some great home-cooked meals thanks to Torsten and Grace. We had some fresh snow and generally very spring-like conditions. The kids just don’t care and I was pleased they were eager to go down the hardest trail (for Northstar). Lucas might have bitten off more than he could chew, but he made it without complaint.

Next year, I think we’re going to try to go somewhere out of state. Wherever we end up, it will be fun with this crew.

23 Photos

Annual Summer trip to Camp Crowther at Tahoe Donner

We spent the weekend with the Crowthers the weekend of July 9th at their place in Tahoe Donner. We got an early start on Friday and arrived early enough to go to the pool and have dinner up there. On Saturday, we all embarked on a hike up to Donner Summit. Lucas ran out of gas a little more than half way up. Olivia and the Crowthers made their way to the summit and had lunch up there and did some butt sledding on the glacier. Saturday evening we had dinner in Squaw Village.

On Sunday, the kids planned to do the ropes course at Squaw Village. John ended up taking Lucas’s spot. Lucas was content to enjoy a warm croissant in the village and get some bungee jumping in. We all had a nice lunch together outside at Plumpjack before getting on the road to home.

With all that had been going on in the world those several weeks, it was nice to get away and enjoy the peace and quiet in nature. We are fortunate to be able to escape the headlines, let alone having to live them. Thanks, Crowthers, as always for your hospitality.

44 Photos

Weekend at Martis Camp with Moons

We went to Tahoe at the beginning of February with the Moons and met up again with them during ski week in Colorado. This past weekend, we went to back to Tahoe and stayed at Martis Camp, where they will be building a home. When we arrived, we were surprised at how little snow was on the ground, given all the precipitation the area had received.

On Saturday, we all skied/boarded together (minus Grace). It started out as almost a bluebird day, but after lunch a welcome storm had moved in. Saturday evening, we had dinner at the Family Barn and ran into some other friends who also went to the same pre-school. We haven’t seen them in a while, but Lucas and Julia were BFFs and it was so cute to see them reunited.

On Sunday, we woke up to a ton of fresh snow. All eight of us headed out together. The snow proved to be perhaps too much of a good thing as the kids had a rough go of powering through some ungroomed runs as we tried to make our way over to the front side of the mountain. We took a couple breaks before packing it in about 2pm so we could get back and get on the road at a reasonable hour.

Apparently Waze doesn’t understand chain control and it took us over an hour and a half to simply get past Donner Lake. It was slow going and somewhat treacherous as the snow and rain were unrelenting the entire way home. We stopped at a different Il Fornaio in Roseville on the way home, which turned out to be very nice and cozy.

Another great (and possibly last) ski weekend in the books for this season. It’s always fun to travel with the Moons and run into friends on the Mountain.

42 Photos

Ski Weekend in Tahoe with Moons

The weekend of January 30th, we spent the weekend in Tahoe with the Moons. The kids are always excited to spend time with Alex and Nico. We shared a really nice condo just across the street from Northstar village, which was super convenient.

On Saturday, the kids spent their first day in ski school this season. Grace also put herself in school and was in a class with just one other person, who coincidentally happened to be a friend and fellow dad from school. All the families met up at the end of the day.

The Moons are building a house in Martis Camp, so they took us to the family barn for dinner. That place is pretty amazing. Olivia did pottery while Lucas took in some Harry Potter. After dinner, Olivia and Grace got in a game of bowling (what?). We also ran into a bunch of other friends from home and Michigan, including the Uppingtons, who were in our original BMC playgroup where we met the Moons.

On Sunday, Grace took the day off from skiing and the rest of us tried to get in some runs together. It was super fun to see the four of the kids going down the mountain together. At the end of the day, we met back at the lodge, loaded up our cars and got on the road while the snow was coming down pretty hard.

It took us a while to get out of Tahoe, and thankfully we missed a 20+ car pileup just East of where we got on the 80. We all met at Il Fornaio in Sacramento for one final meal together before pressing on towards home.

13 Photos

Ski Weekend in Tahoe at Camp Crowther

The Crowthers invited us to their place at Tahoe Donner on the weekend of January 16th, which was our first trip of the season. Despite trying to get an early start, we were still caught in some rough traffic and didn’t get in until fairly late on Friday.

On Saturday morning, we drove out to Squaw Valley, but it was raining pretty hard at the base and ski school for the kids didn’t seem like a great idea. The Crowther girls still skied most of the day, so our kids played at home and made their first snowman. Grace helped prepare dinner to celebrate John’s birthday.

On Sunday, we all skied together, though the conditions still weren’t great and they closed the top due to high winds. Unfortunately, that’s where the best snow was. We didn’t plan to ski on Monday even though it was a holiday, and decided to make the trip home in the morning.

Thanks again, Crowthers, for your generous hospitality. We always have a great time with you guys.

10 Photos

© www.graceandjason.com 2023